Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Illegal toxic alcohol kills 10 in India

Men who consumed toxic liquor receive treatment at a hospital in Ahmedabad on July 9, 2009.
Deaths from toxic alcohol are common in South Asia

At least 10 people have died after drinking toxic illegal alcohol in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, police say.

The victims were all residents of Soyepur village in Varanasi district. Police said two people had been arrested for selling illicit liquor.

Seven police and excise department staff have been suspended for negligence in relation to the deaths.

Fatalities from illegally brewed alcohol are common in South Asia.

Last July, 107 people died after drinking toxic alcohol in Gujarat.

And in 2008, about 150 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Illegally brewed alcohol is readily found across India and is popular because it is cheap and said to be stronger than legal brews.

But it is often laced with chemicals and pesticides in an attempt to boost its strength.

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